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Kundera claims provoke dismay in homeland

Latest update : 2008-10-15

Former peers and protégés of the Czech author Milan Kundera have reacted with dismay to accusations that he informed on a Czech deserter turned US spy after the 1948 communist coup.

 
The publication of a 1950 Czechoslovak police report in which the writer Milan Kundera appears as an informer has provoked dismay in the Czech Republic. The story has made the front pages of all the national dailies, with the reactions of several Czech personalities reported.

 

The writer and former dissident Ivan Klima said Kundera was very young at the time, and it was a different era. “It’s true, though, that among writers informing wasn’t the done thing. His work will remain – people will have to decide how to judge it.”

 

Milan Kundera now publishes in French and his books rarely come out in Czech, apparently because the author would like to translate them himself but lacks the time to do so. “It’s hard to say if his conscience is behind the fact he doesn’t publish here,” Klima said.

 

The relationship between the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and his native country has always been extremely complicated, even after the fall of communism. “It’d be interesting to know if this is why he’s cut himself off from his motherland,” said the playwright Jiri Pitterman.

 

Others have refused to judge him. “I don’t believe that he was a snitch, and I can’t imagine it. Neither am I prepared to take part in this execution,” said director Vera Chytilova, once a student of Kundera’s at Prague film school. “Who am I to judge him?”

 

The police report, dated 14.3.1950 and posted on its website by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, clearly identifies Milan Kundera. It lists his date and place of birth and describes him as a student who went to the police to inform on a Western agent on a mission in Prague.

 

Following the report, Miroslav Dvoracek was arrested and spent 14 years in the uranium mines before emigrating to Sweden. Contacted by France 24, his wife said he had experienced a living hell. “It really doesn’t make any difference whether the informer was a very famous person or somebody completely unknown,” she said, adding that whether the police document is authentic remains to be proven.

 

For his part, Milan Kundera denies everything, describing the accusations as “pure lies”.

Date created : 2008-10-14

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